“Vortex: Terra’s Pride” Update 5c.38 — remember the “Crazy Horse”

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.38 of the “Vortex” telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 30 June 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures / MindjammerBulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges?

FATE 3e Vortex: Terra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of summer 2013:

Acting crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and member of the Blackbird and Dauntless crews; homeworld security task force commander
  • Lt.Cmdr. Tela” [Sara F., secondary ]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar
  • Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff C., secondary ]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary ]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • Lt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho Union of Solar Nations space marine and pilot
  • Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H., secondary ]-male Seranen (pale empathic humanoid alien) exile, wilderness survival expert curious about Terrans and the Zarkonian threat; with sphinx-like companion Glaucon

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“22 to 25 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” At Sirius, the Blackbird dropped sensor buoys and encountered unidentified alien vessels. Its crew also saw for the first time the fearsome Zarkonian Armada, which was headed toward the Sol system.

Meanwhile, the rest of the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force checked in at the Wolf 359 outpost. The Pina Colada and Sovereign rescued the Nethian ship Fourth Wing and lured two Psi Eaters (cloud-based energy entities) to help defend Earth.

The Dauntless, Crazy Horse, and Tigress stayed closer to home, reporting to the Union of Solar Nations space navy and picking up evacuees and weapons.

Lt.Cmdr. Tela tries to diagnose what is hampering the Blackbird ’s Transit (faster-than-light) drives, preventing the scout ship from leaving the Zarkonian-occupied solar system. Capt. Kevin Reese recommends scanning the area, and Tariq Asrad Saladin soon detects Transit inhibitors on the unidentified vessels.

Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer keeps the cloaking device active and quietly maneuvers behind iceball planet Xylanthia to avoid Zurmiz Krott (biomechanical probes) and Zarkonian fighter craft. Kevin goes to engineering to help Tela.

Tariq empathically senses the Blackbird ’s frustration and sluggishness, and the mystic and Kevin go to the flight bay to find and deactivate the alien system they retrieved. Chris McKee readies ion cannons.

Inside the alien ship, the Terran explorers find a vulture-like pilot, whom Chris determines was killed by a gamma ray blast from the Zarkonians. They manage to deactivate the Transit inhibitor, which Tariq plans to study later.

Capt. Reese orders Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer to set a course for Procyon. The Blackbird reunites with the rest of “Terra’s Pride” at the binary star system.

On the way, Kevin checks the Olvar Star League database and identifies the dead scavenger as a Kutalrin. Tariq warns him about cybernetic modifications. Tela makes sure they’re inactive.

The command crews of the Terran task force meet to discuss their next moves. “Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron] had planned to use criminals aboard the Crazy Horse to provide human life signs for a Trojan horse attack on the Zarkonian Armada. Instead, he acquired terminally ill and vegetative patients.

Terran space frigate
The Terran frigate “Crazy Horse”

Several of Dr. Pahul’s crew mates have moral qualms, and robot nurse MEGAN attends to his patients. Chris notes that any attempt to study the armada would have to occur at Wolf 359, now that it has passed by Sirius.

Engineer “Hector Chavez” [Beruk] strengthens the Crazy Horse’s defenses and loads three zero-point devices, plus nuclear warheads. Tela suggests using a distress signal to lure the enemy and spider drones for tracking.

Cmdr. Jasmine” [Sara] says farewell to “Lt.Cmdr. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce], who gives her the Sash of Giganta and volunteers to pilot the Crazy Horse. The Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion) makes a microjump in the Wolf 359 system and charges at the 3,000 Zarkonian ships.

Lt. Nathan A. Jessup hangs back in the Kutalrin ship to relay telemetry back to the rest of “Terra’s Pride.” The Zarkonians rake the Crazy Horse with beam weapons, and the frigate explodes, destroying two capital ships and about dozen smaller enemy vehicles.

Even as the humans celebrate their first engagement and mourn for Sebastian and others’ sacrifice, Nate spots two Zarkonian fighters headed his way. Brun brings the “Dauntless” around to retrieve him, and he and Chris destroy two pursuers.

The Pina Colada, Blackbird, Dauntless, Sovereign, and Tigress fall back to Alpha Centauri. They are hailed by Spaceman Peter Jones, whose squadron is on patrol for Camp Alpha.

Capt. Reese reports to Lt.Col. Hollis Shelman aboard the battleship Lionheart. He also delivers some recorded video to help boost the morale of Earth’s defenders.

Jasmine and Brun set a course for Van Maanen’s Star so that their task force can join some of the rag-tag fleet fleeing Earth….

Byron and Dexter, we missed you at the “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” telecom space opera! Byron, I hope you’re feeling better. Janice and I enjoyed our vacation in Seattle, but I’m glad to get back to our games.

Note that each of your Player Characters now has 40 skill points. Let me know how you’ll spend them, and have a good week, -Gene

“Vortex: Terra’s Pride” Update 5c.37 — Nethians and near-Earth errands

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.37 of the “Vortex” telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 16 June 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/MindjammerBulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges?

FATE 3e Vortex: Terra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of summer 2013:

Acting crew of the refitted yacht Pina Colada and frigate Sovereign:

  • Cmdr. Jasmine” [Sara F., primary ]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the Appomattox, now captain of the Pina Colada searching for a homeworld for her people
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C., secondary ]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance and the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.)
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary ]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary/absent ]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Acting crew of the corvette Dauntless:

  • Lt.Cmdr. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary ]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted Blackbird
  • Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and confident planetary patriot; with robots MEGAN and PEPE
  • Hector Chavez” [Beruk A., primary/absent ]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on theAppomattox, cautious engineer and communications expert

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“19 to 21 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The acting crew of the Blackbird hid sensor buoys near 61 Ursa Majoris and Sirius, where it got its first glimpse of the Zarkonian Armada.

Meanwhile, the Pina Colada and Sovereign return to the Terran outpost at Wolf 359. Cmdr. Jasmine hails the station, where Capt. Dirk Hatch had been left in command after the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force arrested traitors including Cmdr. Hasdrubal Guitterez. Capt. Hatch asks for any news from Earth.

He also says that his personnel have remained loyal to the Union of Solar Nations, even as they have been busy processing 40 outbound vessels. Orion Starchaser and Lord Wallace Tubbington III ask if anything unsual has happened since their last visit.

Capt. Hatch says that a Nethian (insectoid alien) supply ship is late, and it may have been intercepted by energy-based creatures known as Psi Eaters, since only human ships have been warned of the hazard.

Chiron pilots the Pina Colada, while Lt. Harry “Monty Hall” Takahari Jr. [Bruce/Non-Player Character] keeps the Sovereign close by. Dephine (“Uplifted” cetacean) astrogator Lt. Wynona Smoketrail [Sara/N.P.C.] is at the helm of the frigate, with Chris McKee on guns and Pomuyan physician Dr. Phil Philips [Byron/N.P.C.] in sickbay.

Cmdr. Jasmine and Lt. Takahari thank Capt. Hatch and head for the last known position of the interstellar cloud-based entities. The Pina Colada and Sovereign find the Nethian cruiser Fourth Wing adrift.

Initial scans find that 40% of the 800 people on the ship are affected by a Psi Eater. Lt. Takahari tries to contact the unaffected Nethians, but they are interrupted by zombified crewmates. The portion of “Terra’s Pride” decides to pursue a risky grappling maneuver.

Capt. Jasmine overrules Harry’s recommendation and suits up for extravehicular activity (EVA) with Orion and Wallace. They leap from the Pina Colada’s airlock to the Fourth Wing. Lord Tubbington is off course, but feline Jasmine grabs him. Orion is the first to activate magnetic boots.

Kedar, a Tharian (gargoyle-like alien) engineer, reports that the Fourth Wing‘s systems are merely suppressed. Dr. Philips detects anomalous life signs converging on the EVA team from within the ship. Lt. Takahari asks Lt. Smoketrail to aim the Sovereign’s weapons at the Nethian vessel in case of attack.

Orion uses technopsi to interface with the Fourth Wing, but its central computer doesn’t want to give the Pomuyan mystic access. Mighty Jasmine manually opens the hatch to the grapple system, and Wallace draws his sword when two zombified Nethians join them on the outside of the ship.

Harry readies an experimental force shield created by Hector Chavez to protect the Pina Colada from the Psi Eater. Orion jumps back from the Fourth Wing with a tow cable. Jasmine and Wallace follow, as do the two Nethians.

Back in the airlock, Orion hands Jasmine the ship-to-ship grapple and raises a telekinetic shield at their pursuers. It fails to block them. Dr. Philips recommends focusing on the Psi Eater’s hive mind (unlike that of the Nethians). Jasmine and Wallace prepare to repel boarders.

As the two Nethians enter the airlock, Harry raises the shield, cutting them off from the energy devourer. Krst’tks and Kyt’svd come to their senses and are initially confused. Diplomat Lord Tubbington takes over from the friendly but direct Orion in talking with the insectoid aliens.

Dr. Philips scans them for nanites (microscopic robots) or other infections, and Lt. Takahari explains what has happened to their ship. As with the Dauntless and the Sovereign, Orion believes that he can lure the Psi Eater away from the Nethian cruiser. Jasmine releases the grapple.

Krst’tks and Kyt’svd borrow the Dragonfly drop ship to return to the Fourth Wing, while Kedar drops shields and Orion draws the Psi Eater after the Pina Colada. Chiron and Wynona pilot in the direction of Sirius.

Orion telepathically broadcasts images of “tasty” Zarkonians (crustacean aliens) and Lt. Takahari successfully raises shields and outmaneuvers the energy entity. Cmdr. Jasmine then orders the Pina Colada and Sovereign to head for the last known position of the second Psi Eater.

Orion and Harry repeat the maneuver, bringing the interstellar hazard to a position where it can feed on the Zarkonian Armada rather than Terran ships. Dr. Philips checks the psionic emanations, and Orion checks both his Hitchhiker’s Guide and sensors for more about the Psi Eaters but finds nothing.

On their way back to Earth, the Pina Colada and Sovereign encounter the Bloody Flag , a Gustrall (antlered, orange-furred, flightless raptor-like alien) battle cruiser. Capt. Kolsed of Clan Render warns the Earthlings to stay out of the way of his hunt for Zarkonian fighters.

The Gustrall also says that he looks forward to a “glorious battle” against the armada on humanity’s behalf. Back in the Sol system, the Dauntless, Crazy Horse, and Tigress observe the mounting chaos on Earth and escalating efforts to evacuate as many people as possible.

In the Asteroid Belt, the cruiser and two frigates pick up personnel from the Ilokar battle group. “Sgt. Nate A. Jessup” [Byron] had asked “Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce] to reassign Sgt. Amarna Morales from her current post as a signal officer on the Manitou.

On the way to the Mars Confederacy, Hector prepares detonators and propulsion for the zero-point munitions intercepted on their way to Earth. The Pina Colada has three, the Blackbird has one, and the Dauntless has two of the devices for use against the Zarkonians.

At New Shanghai on Mars, Lt.Cmdr. Growlick asks Jennifer, the sister of Kevin’s late wife Heather, if she’ll evacuate. Jennifer says that she’ll leave only if Nick Cheney can come with her. “Terra’s Pride” is reluctant to include the former Interplanetary Patrol chief, whom it suspects of Heather’s murder in the Namor-Asperagen colony, but Sebastian eventually arranges passage for both Jennifer and Nick.

Sebastian also warns his clan to leave the Sol system. Capt. Elektra Contos of the Tigress checks in with fleet command and learns that Encegulan (slug-like alien slaver) ships have broken off trade with Earth, no doubt anticipating a Zarkonian invasion.

On the way to the L-5 orbital cities near Earth, Dr. Srinu Pahul readies the sickbay of the Crazy Horse, with permission from Capt. Reese and Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea, an Aquarian (amphibious humanoid alien) refugee. Srinu plans to use prisoners for their life signs as the ship makes a suicide run at the armada to test its defenses.

Lt.Cmdr. Growlick pulls rank to acquire three “backpack nukes” and two ICBMs with high-yield warheads. Dr. Pahul orders robot butler PEPE to dismantle one bomb to plant on enemy tranports. Hector and Gustrall gunner Nylca of Clan Firehoof stay aboard the Dauntless, while Sebastian joins Srinu on the Crazy Horse.

The Dauntless and Tigress retrieve mining magnate and aspiring politician “Aughest-vor…” [Jason E.R.] and journalist “Scoop Chang” [Rich C.G.] from Lemuria Station. Dr. Pahul finds that obtaining prisoners for his “Trojan horse” scheme will be too difficult, so he contacts hospitals to see if any terminally ill patients can be transferred to the Crazy Horse.

Srinu enlists nurse Keila Sunitha Ciela to help him, since robot MEGAN will be destroyed with the Crazy Horse. The zealous doctor also acquires a standard medical droid. The rest of “Terra’s Pride” waits for the Blackbird to return from its Zarkonian encounter….

Beruk and Josh, I’m glad that you were able to join me and some of my former co-workers for Man of Steel last Friday, and Josh and Rich, I’m glad that we were able to go to the Compleat Strategist in Boston together for FreeRPG Day. Beruk and Dexter, we missed you at the latest “Vortex” session!

I’ll try to post my update for this week’s “Vanished LandsVistel’s Circus” fantasy game Note that I’ll be unavailable this coming weekend, but I expect “Terra’s Pride” to resume on Sunday, June 30. Josh, good luck with your Dungeon World one-shot! Take it easy, -Gene

“Vortex: Terra’s Pride” Update 5c.36 — In a tight spot

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.36 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 9 June 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/MindjammerBulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges ?

FATE 3e “VortexTerra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of summer 2013:

Acting crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Capt. Kevin Reese [Bruce K., primary ]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and leader of the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force
  • Lt.Cmdr. Tela [Sara F., secondary ]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket
  • Lt. Nathan A. Jessup [Byron V.O., secondary ]-male Terran human, gung-ho space marine and fighter pilot
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin [Beruk A., secondary ]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary ]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker
  • Enkidu Aristheon [Dexter V.H., secondary/absent ]-male Seranen (pale empathic humanoid alien) exile, wilderness survival expert curious about Terrans and the Zarkonian threat; with sphinx-like companion Glaucon

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon /Pina Colada.

“18 to 21 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After rest and reassignment, the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force sets forth on three missions. The Pina ColadaSovereign, and Tigress head back toward Wolf 359 to find and lure cloud-based energy entities as obstacles for the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

The Dauntless and Crazy Horse leave the Ilokar battle group in the Asteroid Belt to retrieve allies around the Sol system. The Blackbird pursues the primary mission of infiltrating Zarkonian-held space.

Capt. Kevin Reese leaves orders for the Crazy Horse, which is to be covertly deployed as a decoy filled with prisoners disabled by Dr. Srinu Pahul, to rendezvous at Sirius in about a week (of Terran “game time”).

Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer pilots the Blackbird to 61 Ursa Majoris, about 10 parsecs from Earth. Lt.Cmdr. Tela activates the scout ship’s cloaking device. Tariq Asrad Saladin scans the system but finds no signs of life.

Lt. Nathan A. Jessup and Chris McKee release a probe to hide among asteroids orbiting the yellow star and gather information about passing ships. Enkidu Aristheon and Glaucon remain alert but sense no presence.

Capt. Reese then orders Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer to set course for Sirius, or Alpha Canis Majoris, a binary star system. The Blackbird finds more uninhabited planets and readies another probe. However, a squadron of eight long-range fighter craft with missiles patrols nearby space.

Pilot Brun makes evasive maneuvers, and engineer Tela makes sure that the ship remains stealthy. Officers Kevin and Nate ask some ensigns to help them in the cargo hold as they manually swap an asteroid for the sensor buoy.

Wanderers Tariq and Enkidu detect numerous bogeys entering the system. Gunner Chris readies the Blackbird’s beam weapons. They look on in surprise as a gamma ray laser strikes the unidentified fighters, leaving all of them adrift.

Shadow miniatures
The shadow arrives

Capt. Reese and Lt. Jessup wrestle the asteroid aboard and release the probe. Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer brings theBlackbird around, hoping that Sirius will protect the experimental Olvar (mammal-like arboreal alien) vessel from hostile scans.

Mr. Saladin reports that 3,000 ships are approaching, and Mr. Aristheon positively identifies them as a wave of the armada, including huge Zarkonian (crustacean alien) capital ships, Encegulan (slug-like slaver) allies, and swarms of Zurmiz Krott (biomechanical scouts).

Tela has a flashback to her time as a captive of the Encegulans, and Chris doesn’t activate targeting solutions lest he alert the Zarkonians. Tariq recommends retrieving one of the drifting fighters for further examination. Kevin agrees.

Brun swoops toward one fighter, even as Zurmiz Krott begin swarming the rest of the squadron. Tariq calms Tela so that she can help Kevin and Nate in the cargo bay by turning off artificial gravity.

Kevin tries to rally his crew, and Chris replies, “In the future, whenever we want to think we’ve been in a tight spot, this is the moment we should think of.” Enkidu maintains psionic defenses, as Tariq blocks some Zurmiz Krott transmissions.

As soon as the alien fighter craft is aboard, Capt. Reese gives the command to “punch it” and jump to Transit (faster-than-light travel) to leave Sirius….

Geoff and Dexter, we missed you at this past weekend’s game! Let me know if any of you won’t be available for a“Vortex” session this coming Sunday because of Father’s Day. Note that I won’t be able to run on June 23. Remember to update your characters on Obsidian Portal, and good luck to “Terra’s Pride!”

In addition, I enjoyed Rich C.G.’s Star WarsEdge of the Empire one-shot this past Monday, and I look forward to Jason E.R.’s Star Wars miniseries this autumn. I’ll see some of you for Man of Steel, Free RPG Day, and next week’s “Vanished LandsVistel’s Circus” fantasy campaign, -Gene

“Vortex: Terra’s Pride” Update 5c.35 — Ship shuffles

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.35 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 2 June 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/MindjammerBulldogs, and anonline dice roller.

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges ?

FATE 3e “VortexTerra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of spring 2013:

Crew of the refitted yacht Pina Colada:

  • Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K., primary]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and leader of the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force
  • Cmdr. Jasmine” [Sara F., primary]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the “Appomattox,” hoping to find a homeworld for her people
  • Hector Chavez” [Beruk A., primary]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on the “Appomattox,” cautious engineer and communications expert
  • Chris McKee /Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C., primary]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O., primary]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and confident planetary patriot; with robots MEGAN and PEPE
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H., primary/absent]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

Crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Lt.Cmdr. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K., secondary]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier and acting commander of the refitted “Blackbird”
  • Lt.Cmdr. Tela” [Sara F., secondary]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A., secondary]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington” [Josh C., secondary]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance and Union of Solar Nations
  • Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff C., secondary]-male Martian Ursoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” bear), former wrestler, pilot
  • Lt. Nathan A. Jessup” [Byron V.O., secondary]-male Terran human, gung-ho space marine and fighter pilot
  • Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H., secondary/absent]-male Seranen (pale empathic humanoid alien) exile, wilderness survival expert curious about Terrans and the Zarkonian threat; with sphinx-like companion Glaucon

(See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.)

“13 to 17 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After rescuing Terran ships and arresting traitors near Wolf 359, the “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force returned to the Asteroid Belt to report.

Ships in the Asteroid Belt
Terran space fleet

Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese turns over Zarkonian sympathizers Ms. Helen Gastmeyer, Cmdr. Hadsrubal Guitterez, and Lt. Fenris Ironclaw to Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.) custody at Ceres Station. Adm. Jacques Pons offers Kevin and his crew commissions in the U.S.N. space navy in gratitude.

Even though the political situation is deteriorating on Earth, the U.S.N. has redirected its forces to strengthen perimeter defenses against the approaching Zarkonian Armada. The admiral also notes that potential missions include joining the fleets deployed around the Sol system, scouting possible evacuation routes, and infiltrating enemy-held space.

Adm. Pons tells Kevin that he and his friends have 24 hours to decide because the armada is estimated to be only weeks away. Newly promoted, Capt. Reese calls a meeting in the Pina Colada’s lounge.

From the yacht, Jasmine and Dr. Srinu Pahul accept ranks within the Terran military, but Hector Chavez and Chris McKee decline the offer to return to formal service. Galactic wanderer Orion Starchaser laughs at the offer, preferring to stay unattached. Chiron asks for time to think.

From the scout ship Blackbird, Sebastian Growlick, Tela, Lord Wallace Tubbington III, Brun Bearhammer, and Nathan A. Jessup accept U.S.N. promotions or commissions. Survival experts Tariq Asrad Saladin and Enkidu Aristheon decline.

Capt. Reese relays Adm. Pons’ mission descriptions and asks for recommendations. Cmdr. Pahul recommends placing paralyzed prisoners aboard the Crazy Horse and seeing how the Zarkonians respond to an attack.

Wallace, now special envoy between the Olvar Star League and the U.S.N., doesn’t like Srinu’s plan to throw away human lives, even if they are criminals. Orion and Enkidu agree. Lord Tubbington adds, however, that he is up for diplomacy and adventure, including going behind enemy lines.

Tariq says that he has been experimenting with using bioelectronics to block psionics. Engineers Tela and Hector assist, as do telepaths Orion and Enkidu.

Chris is also unsure about Dr. Pahul’s “Trojan horse” plan. The sniper recommends using the Blackbird’s cloaking device for infiltration. Hector makes a counterproposal of using a remotely piloted drone.

Hector also says that he has studied plasma sword crystals to create a prototype tunable force-field emitter. Unfortunately, three slower-than-light generation colony ships may be too far to help. In addition, the former spy points out that he is the only person familiar with the zero-point munitions intercepted on their way to Earth.

Capt. Reese then turns to the naval personnel. Lt. Jessup is eager to get training for a new aerospace superiority fighter craft. Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer suggests luring the cloud-based energy entities recently encountered as an obstacle for the approaching armada.

Lt.Cmdr. Tela says that she has been working on scaling up an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) gun for the Blackbird. Despite his attachment to Jasmine, Lt.Cmdr. Growlick volunteers to take the Crazy Horse for a kamikaze mission.

Cmdr. Jasmine also objects to Cmdr. Pahul’s idea of using humans as bait, and the doctor responds that foes must be defeated by any means necessary. “Each hour we slow the Zarkonians means that many more Terrans can escape,” Srinu says.

Capt. Reese says that he’ll take everyone’s recommendations under advisement. The group then discusses deployment of the ships currently in “Terra’s Pride.” The Blackbird will pursue the primary mission of covertly entering Zarkonian-held space.

The experimental Olvar (mammal-like arboreal alien) vessel will include Capt. Reese as commander, Lt.Cmdr. Tela as engineer, and Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer as helmsman. Mr. McKee and Lt. Jessup will serve as gunners and marines, and Mr. Saladin and Mr. Aristheon will provide psionic protection.

The Pina Colada will lead the Sovereign and Tigress in an attempt to find the cloud-based entities that had zombified starship crews. Capt. Reese orders the three ships to lure or capture the “psi eaters” so that they can attack the Zarkonians.

Cmdr. Jasmine takes the Pina Colada, with Chiron as pilot and Tela’s boyfriend Kedar as engineer. Telepath Orion agrees to try to contact the creatures, and Lord Tubbington is ready to assist with any alien contacts. Hector arranges for his onetime handler, Max(ine), to be posted to the Pina Colada.

Lt. Harry “Monty Hall” Takahari Jr. takes charge of repairing and restaffing the Sovereign, while Kevin’s sometime lover Capt. Elektra Contos readies the Tigress.

The third portion of the task force is assigned to run errands within the Sol system. Cmdr. Growlick takes the Dauntless, and Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea, an Aquarian (amphibious alien), takes the Crazy Horse.

Kevin asks Sebastian and Aveeshi to help evacuate past associates, such as scientist “Syzygy” [Brian W.], aspiring politician “Aughest-vor…” [Jason E.R.], and journalist “Scoop Chang” [Rich C.G.].

Capt. Reese also privately asks Hector to prepare zero-point bombs and other weapons. He approves Cmdr. Pahul’s idea to find people for a kamikaze run against the Zarkonians.

After a swift orientation in the growing Colonial Defense Force, new officers Jasmine, Srinu, and Wallace are sworn in aboard the battleship “Ilokar.” Hector and Tela supervise refits to their vessels, including adding an EMP gun and improving the Blackbird’s stealth capability.

The Pina Colada gets Hector’s experimental force field, and the Dauntless gains a rail gun. Dr. Pahul requisitions additional medical supplies and torpedoes for the Crazy Horse.

Orion, Tela and Kedar, and Enkidu and Glaucon take advantage of a few days in dock to stretch their legs (and wings). They observe how the Kharvamid Alliance and U.S.N. have added Transit (faster-than-light) drives to numerous vessels and habitats.

Adm. Pons summons Capt. Reese and Cmdr. Pahul to the Ilokar for a high-level briefing. They are joined by Capt. Evander Scofield, the Gustrall (antlered, orange-furred, flightless raptor-like alien) in charge of the Korelev, as well as Lt. Clark Faddil of the Pinkerton, Cmdr. Alfonso Balaz of the Steel Sanguinis, and the captains of the Ogbe Babba Akinyelure and the Dumas.

Based on reports from survivors from Laransu and Aquarius Prime, says Jacques, the high command estimates casualties of more than 90% of the Sol system’s 20 billion inhabitants.

Even with aid from the Trinoids, Olvar, Nethians, and Ma’ari, the fleets defending Earth and its colonies are going to be vastly outnumbered and outgunned by the invaders from the Milky Way’s Sagittarius Arm, he says. None of those extraterrestrial species have fought anything on that scale for thousands of (Terran) years.

The grim admiral asks for volunteers to join the last-ditch defense of the Sol system and says that some special forces have been left behind to prepare a possible resistance. Adm. Pons explains that most U.S.N. battle groups will be escorting refugee fleets spinward, deeper into unexplored and nonaligned space in the Orion Arm.

Kevin and Srinu return to the Blackbird, with the fate of humanity on their minds….

Now that we’ve dealt with logistics, I look forward to role-playing the crew of the Blackbird getting back out into space! Let me know what new aspects, skills, and stunts you’re adding to each character. I’ve also updated the ship specs on the Obsidian Portal wiki.

I also look forward to tonight’s “Vanished LandsVistel’s Circus” fantasy game and to Rich’s Star Wars: Edge of the Empire one-shot next Monday! Be seeing you, -Gene

“Vortex: Terra’s Pride” Update 5c.34 — Chains of command

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.34 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Monday, 27 May 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /MindjammerBulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges?

FATE 3e “VortexTerra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of spring 2013:

Acting crew of the Terran frigate Sovereign:

  • Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese [Bruce K., primary]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and member of the Blackbird and Dauntless crews; defender of the homeworld
  • Tela [Sara F., secondary]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket
  • Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus” [Josh C., primary]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker aboard the Blackbird and Pina Colada
  • Orion Starchaser [Geoff C., primary]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker
  • Hector Chavez [Beruk A., primary/absent]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on theAppomattox, cautious engineer and communications expert
  • Sgt. Nathan A. Jessup [Byron V.O., secondary/absent]-male Terran human, gung-ho member of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps
  • Chiron [Dexter V.H., primary/absent]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“8 to 12 August 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” After foiling would-be assassins at the Wolf 359 outpost, the acting crew of the corvette Dauntless interrogated Ms. Helen Gastmeyer, an agent for the approaching Zarkonian Armada.

The “Terra’s Pride” homeworld security task force then regrouped at Lalande 21185. The commanders of the Pina Colada, Blackbird, Dauntless, Sovereign, and Crazy Horse meet to discuss their next moves.

Capt. Jasmine” [Sara] of the refitted yacht Pina Colada recommends eliminating the threat posed by Cmdr. Hadsrubal Guitterez, the traitor in charge of the Wolf 359 base. “Lt. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce], commander of the experimental scout ship Blackbird, notes that most of the troops stationed there may still be loyal to the Union of Solar Nations (U.S.N.).

Capt. Aveeshi Stormsea, the Aquarian (amphibious humanoid alien) captain of the frigate Sovereign, says that the damaged ships need to return to the Sol system for crew and repairs. Capt. Dirk Hatch of the Crazy Horse switches places with Lt.Cmdr. Kevin Reese aboard the Dauntless.

Tela joins Kevin and inspects the engines of the Sovereign. Chris McKee is more interested in the Terran frigate’s guns and missiles. Orion Starchaser is exhausted after his telepathic battles with Ms. Gastmeyer and rests in a cabin.

Sgt. Nate Jessup is pleased to be aboard yet another military vessel, and Hector Chavez coordinates task force communications and watches for pursuit from Wolf 359. “Dr. Srinu Pahul” [Byron] watches over Ms. Gastmeyer and Capt. Helena Cain of the Dauntless, and Chiron stays with the Pina Colada.

After piloting the Sovereign to Lalande 21185, Ursoid (“Synth,” “Uplifted” bear) “Lt. Brun Bearhammer” [Geoff] requests to be transferred back to the Blackbird. Lt.Cmdr. Reese approves and has Hector send a request to the U.S.N. fleet for reinforcements, as well as the news about Zarkonian spies.

Col. Shan Gray eventually replies that he’s sending the patrol ship Tigress, relieving some of Kevin’s stress. Col. Gray says that securing Wolf 359 is important because 30 refugee ships are already on their way from Earth.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese’s superior also approves of using a reassignment order to lure Cmdr. Guitterez away from Wolf 359 so he can be arrested with a minimum of conflict. Kevin finds that he is a bit rusty with astrogation, but he takes theSovereign back to the outpost and congratulates Hadsrubal on his new commission.

Raptor-class fighters piloted by Lt. Kamar “Buster” Olekunde and Lt. Mireille “Skeets” Rubio escort the Sovereign,Pina Colada, Blackbird, and Crazy Horse to the orbital station, while the Dauntless again hides on the far side of the star.

Kevin orders helmeted Chris and Nate to accompany him, leaving Orion and Hector aboard the Sovereign because they might be recognized. The away team takes a Morgan-class shuttle to the Wolf 359 outpost.

The three uniformed humans are greeted by Cmdr. Guitterez and his Canid (“Synth,” “Upflited” wolf) chief of security, Lt. Fenris Ironclaw. Hadsrubal asks for a few hours to prepare for his reassignment and invites the visitors to dinner.

Meanwhile, Orion and Chris walk around the Sovereign and are surprised when crew members congratulate them for defeating the Zarkonian agents. Tela and Hector look for ways to disable the base’s systems if needed.

Kevin and Nate meet Lugh Astrophel, an Olvar (mammal-like, arboreal alien) trader. He asks if they know anything of the whereabouts of Velanna Loquieth, captain of the courier ship Unquith. She has been missing for a few (Terran) days — but Lugh seems not to know that she was a plasma sword-wielding attackers working with Ms. Gastmeyer.

Nate notices that they are being followed, none too subtly, by a combat robot whom Hector identifies as Kurang. Kevin sticks to public areas but pretends not to notice the droid. Orion scans for other telepaths and is pleased to report that Helen and the late Velanna were the only other psions at Wolf 359.

Kevin, Tela, and Nate dine with Cmdr. Guitterez, Lt. Ironclaw, and Capt. Hatch, as well as engineer Lt. Han Lao Bing, chief medical officer Dr. Roberto Torkas, and swashbuckling cyborg Capt. Dino Neustadt.

Tela covertly scans the meal and finds that all of the food has a toxin, but only the guests’ drinks lack a counteragent. Kevin and Tela “accidentally” grab the wrong glasses, but Nate relies on his space marine conditioning. Cmdr. Guitterez seems pleased that he’ll be aboard the Sovereign soon.

Lt.Cmdr. Reese shows Cmdr. Guitterez and Lt. Ironclaw to guest cabins on the Sovereign. Capt. Hatch takes command of the Wolf 359 outpost. Dr. Pahul checks on those exposed to food toxins.

Once the flotilla is away from the base, Hector pumps anesthetic gas into Hadsrubal and Fenris’ cabins. Sgt. Jessup and Mr. McKee take them to sickbay, where Dr. Pahul examines them. He finds cyanide tooth capsules, as well as cortical bomb implants.

Kevin orders them removed, and Srinu gets help from robotic nurse MEGAN. When they awaken, Hadsrubal mocks Lt.Cmdr. Reese until he learns that Helen has also been arrested and that an explosive was removed from his brain. Fenris alternates between rage and fatalism, and Kevin assigns more crew to watch the prisoners.

Lt. Bearhammer and the other astrogators set a course for Earth. Capt. Jasmine agrees with Lt.Cmdr. Reese that they should take the fight to the Zarkonians. The Felinoid also studies tactics with Lt. Growlick, who says she’ll probably be offered a position in the U.S.N. space navy upon mission completion.

Tela misses her boyfriend Kedar, robot aide Dr. Bucket, and the drone hive back on the Blackbird. The Tharian channels her energies into enhancing the Sovereign and creating more EMP (electromagnetic pulse) guns.

The cortical implants remind Chris of his own recent ties to Black Box Security Co., and the sniper meditates. Olvar diplomat “Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh] starts an intership poker tournament, drawing in Brun, Srinu, and others.

Orion goes to the Pina Colada to swim in its pool, and Kevin is pleased when sometime lover Capt. Elektra Contos and the Tigress join his task force en route to Earth.

After just a few days’ travel, “Terra’s Pride” reaches the edge of the Sol system. The Shaka Zulu battle group hails the incoming vessels. Adm. Joseph Ochieng tells Lt.Cmdr. Reese that all incoming traffic is being screened, and his battle group is trying to facilitate evacuation.

Adm. Ochieng directs the Sovereign and its sister ships to the Asteroid Belt, where Col. Gray and the U.S.N. high command await their prisoners and reports before they head out into deep space….

Beruk, Byron, and Dexter, I hope that you had a good Memorial Day; we missed you! I expect the “Vortex” game to return to its normal time this coming Sunday, 2 June 2013.

I enjoyed the final session (for now) of Jason E.R.’s “Barsoomian Adventures: the Tenth Ray of Mars,” and I look forward to our face-to-face group’s one-shots this coming summer. In the meantime, I’ll see some of you at next Monday’s “Vanished LandsVistel’s Circus” fantasy game…. -Gene